While Armisen and Brownstein’s Portlandia has garnered much lauded criticism from the inhabitants of Portland itself, I think it is important to recognize that the film version of “Portland” has as much and as little to do with the city itself as we assign to it. The same stereotypes can be attributed to many cities, not just Portland, and it seems fitting to say that their show is not necessarily capitalizing on hipster culture in a negative way; After all, if we can’t laugh at ourselves, we have very little humor to begin with. Brownstein and Armisen could both easily be called hipsters in their heyday, so in great comedic depth they are plunging into territory that
is both self-effacing and controversial.
The juxtaposition between a realistic examination of the
limits of counterculture and our own comparative sociological interpretations of such are something semi-consciously brought to life within the show. The show is as much a statement on interpersonal relations as statement on the subterfuge of our society. The importance of establishing a dominant set of parameters for the dichotomy between trend vs. hype is clearly demonstrated in the remarkable characters they portray
onscreen. The folks that are inflamed by this can be compiled into at least three categories: 1) People who feel the city of Portland is being unjustly accused of being flagrantly ridiculous, 2) People who don’t feel it is “cool” to like a show that makes fun of what is “cool” (As one of Armisen’s characters proclaims, “That is SO OVER!”), 3) People who either don’t get the humor or just don’t care for the show.